Mapping Out The Life I (Really) Want 🛶
… and willing it into existence
What’s the problem?
It’s certainly not that I don’t know what I want out of life. I want it all, happiness, riches, social status and the like. I don’t think myself uncommon in that regard. The problem is that despite a decade toiling away in corporate America, I’m not materially closer to that reality. Days go by and I lose a lot of energy to entropy, that is, heat that’s lost to the universe. Time and attention I’ll never get back. Whenever I consider moving closer to what I want out of life I get mired in the specifics of my vision or put my head down and try to do the things I’m already doing, but better, for surely if I were doing them well enough I’d move towards my dreams. No, that can’t be the answer. That’s just that (oft-repeated, oft-memed) definition of insanity rearing its head again…and again. That’s the brute force approach, a blunt instrument 🔨. I need to try something with more nuance…
Today, I believe that part of the reason I’m not closer to my dreams is because I haven’t wanted to take steps to get closer. If happiness is a game of expectations, then I just wanted to set the bar low enough to not be disappointed and after that it became a matter of maintaining the status quo.
” The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you, if you just lower your expectations.”– Phil Dunphy, Modern Family
As an idealist I believed with all my heart that I’d get where I wanted to go, I just locked the pragmatist part of my brain 🧠 away because he kept talking about how I needed to change my behaviors in the real world to see a real difference. I hear there’s a healthy way to approach lowered expectations (see: stoicism and negative visualization), but what I was doing wasn’t stoicism at its finest, it was “path of least resistance thinking, ” optimizing my life for the least day to day maintenance possible and “knowing” that one day it’d all pay off. I just didn’t figure the pay off would be more of the same, stability. After an abundance of contentedness and a convincing charade as a modern day Sisyphus, I’ve decided that to get where I want to go I’ll need to grow. And, to grow, I know there’ll be resistance (source: Recently I met resistance and I grew). (Incidentally, this is another tenet of stoicism).
Speaking of growth and practical application of steps to lead to a better life…Ever since entering the workforce, my lot has been in consulting and project management. First consulting and more and more into project management as time has progressed. I’ve learned loads about how to work with people and have picked up quite a few skills related to planning and execution. Every day, month and year I’d come home excited about different people skills I had learned, eager to apply them to my personal life. For some reason I never did that with anything related to the planning or execution skills I’d acquired because…yuck. My life was a rejection of structure for fear of becoming a robot person. It’s true, when I was in school for engineering I never felt quite at home. I chose that track because I wanted a job, but I was always afraid my imagination would be wrung out of me. It did get me a job and lo and behold a decade in the corporate world I still have my imagination. I’m beginning to think that maybe there’s someway I can apply the practical skills I’ve learned at work in combination with my wild (and I do mean wild) imagination to navigate to where I want to be in life ⚖️.
Setting my personal issues aside and focusing in on my new found desire for balance, I have decided to put more structure in place to achieve my dreams. The starting bar is low, mind you. I just need a strategy more specific than “hope.”
The Beginnings of a Solution
Now I’ve set my sights on something big and the scaffolding I’m working to erect is designed to orient my life towards that objective and to get as close to it as I can. To be clear, I’m not talking about a complete rejection of flexibility in service of reaching this objective. I can’t handle the day to day intensity of suffocating structure sustained over a lifetime. What I want to do is to bring my vision for my life into clarity and then apply some careful planning with a bit of nuance and see where I end up in 5-, 10-, 50-years 🌠 . Maybe I’ll even have some fun along the way.
I hope you’ll follow along with me on this journey in real-time. This is the first in a series that I’m calling Drawing my Dream Map where I’m going to set out on the path (of my own making) towards my dreams. The next step is figuring out what my dreams are. After that all I have to do is orient my entire life around those dreams. Easy enough, right? 😉 🔰.
This is part of my Drawing My Dream Map series. For more, follow along here as I work towards my dreams publicly and in real-time.